We're only on Round 2 of the 2013 NBA playoffs, and already we've seen just about everything under the sun. And I do mean everything.
Ridiculous shots, incredible performances, dramatic comebacks, irritating fans...there's been all sorts of craziness. So what's the craziest thing we've seen happen so far? Let's find out.
In descending order...
Quincy Pondexter's half-court buzzer-beater
Every half-court shot mostly boils down to luck, but still...are you kidding me?
Not only is this a double-clutch runner in a close playoff game, but it's also one of the few half-court shots that was actually well defended. And Quincy Pondexter drilled it anyways.
So for all of those Memphis Grizzlies fans who were bemoaning Pondexter's inability to hit three crucial free throws with less than two seconds to go in this game, it probably wouldn't have even been that close without Pondexter. So there.
Carmelo Anthony gets an MVP vote
This technically isn't part of the playoffs, but it happened during the playoffs, and that's good enough for me.
The Boston Globe's Gary Washburn recently revealed himself as the lone voter to cast an MVP ballot for Carmelo Anthony. He did so for a simple reason: He felt that, while Anthony was a lesser player than LeBron James, he meant more to the New York Knicks this season than James did to the Heat.
Anthony had a great season, and he's a fantastic player in his own right. He's become more efficient this year, and his prowess as a 4 in the Knicks' small-ball lineups have turned the Knicks into the strong contender they are today.
But as Grantland's Zach Lowe pointed out, the Knicks outscored opponents by 3.2 points per 100 possessions with Anthony on the bench, whereas the 66-win Heat actually had a negative scoring margin when James was sitting. That's a pretty telling sign of value.
Anthony may one day deserve quite a few MVP votes, but in a year that both James and Kevin Durant put up historical numbers, it's hard to make a good case for him.
Kent Bazemore's near game-winner
That's right. Kent Bazemore.
The Golden State Warriors rookie played a whopping 4.4 minutes per game this season, but that didn't stop him from hitting a gorgeous reverse layup to put the Warriors up one with less than four seconds to go. For a few moments, Twitter exploded, Warriors fans rejoiced and everyone immediately pulled up Google to figure out who the heck Kent Bazemore was.
Was the moment slightly tarnished when Manu Ginobili sunk the actual game-winner over Bazemore himself? Yes. But anything that can draw more attention to one of the league's best bench celebrators is nothing but good.
The LeBron James-Nazr Mohammed scuffle
Keep in mind that this is only Game 3 of this series. This one might get a little nasty by the time it's through. Well, even nastier than it already is.
Also, Tom Thibodeau may be calling this one a flop (via ESPN's Brian Windhorst), but it sure doesn't look like it. Nazr Mohammed pushed LeBron James square in the chest when LeBron wasn't looking. Pretty much anyone's going down in that situation. Keep your eyes posted on this series. It could get ugly.
Zach Randolph's chokehold on Blake Griffin
The Memphis Grizzlies-Los Angeles Clippers series was pretty chippy throughout, but by Game 6, the series went from “physical” to “just plain fighting.”
After Blake Griffin and Zach Randolph locked up and went to the ground midway through the third quarter, Randolph got on top of Blake and put him in a chokehold. Seriously, this happened. He started choking Griffin on the court.
The refs thankfully broke it up, giving both players personal fouls and slapping Randolph with a technical as well. But the lesson here is, as always: Zach Randolph is totally terrifying.
Dwyane Wade's floral jacket
With Russell Westbrook out for the rest of the playoffs, there was a question as to who would win the “strangest postgame ensemble” award. Until Dwyane Wade decided to wear this. At which point he immediately won. There will be no other contestants.
Zach Harper @talkhoops
Dwyane Wade wearing a Fruit of the Loom commercial.5/9/2013, 2:58:39 AM
Stephen Curry's deep three-pointer
There are no words.
Derek Fisher actually playing well
Like, really well. MVP well.
Derek Fisher has a net rating of plus-32. That's not a typo. When he's on the court, the Oklahoma City Thunder are posting an offensive rating of 117 and a defensive rating of 96. When he's off the court, those numbers are at 103 and 115, respectively (per Basketball-Reference). That's genuinely unbelievable.
Fisher is also hitting 61 percent from three, he's been a major part of pretty much every small-ball lineup that the Thunder have thrown out and he's also been one of their best wing defenders so far (no, seriously). He locked up James Harden in Game 6 of the Thunder's first-round series and Mike Conley in Game 1 of their current series.
How is this even happening? Fisher is 38 years old and never looked close to this good last season. It makes no sense.
Gregg Popovich making jokes in sideline interviews
I don't know who this man is. But he's not Gregg Popovich. He may look, sound and coach the exact same way. But it's still not him.
Gregg Popovich doesn't joke around with reporters during sideline interviews, especially not when his team is down. Gregg Popovich doesn't ask for follow-up questions. Gregg Popovich gives one-word answers, blank stares and generally makes every sideline reporter hate their job. I refuse to accept this. That is all.
The San Antonio Spurs shrieker
There's cheering, there's cheering loudly and then there's the sound some San Antonio Spurs fan was making in Game 1 between the Spurs and the Golden State Warriors.
The super shrieker has yet to be identified, but numerous women are already battling for the not-so-enviable title (via Sportsgrid). Honestly, it's hard to say how the fan wasn't immediately identified during the actual game. He or she would have at some point been sitting by themselves after everyone nearby left for the hospital to fix their bleeding eardrums. So that's a mystery.
Oh well. At least we have a brand new Twitter account to follow.
Screaming Spurs Fan @ScreamingSpurs
AHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH5/7/2013, 4:35:32 AM
Joakim Noah's best friend
Oh, you thought that the San Antonio Spurs shrieker would be the only annoying fan we'd see in these playoffs? Shame on you.
After Joakim Noah was ejected late in the Chicago Bulls' Game 2 loss against the Miami Heat, one delightful women, who the Florida Sun-Sentinel recently identified as Filomena Tobias, decided to give Noah the one-finger salute.
Noah's always been a classic “love him if he's on your team, hate him if he's not” guy, but this kind of treatment goes a little bit too far. Okay, a lot too far.
Anyways, thank you, Filomena Tobias (as well as your equally pleasant male companion) for your craziness. You've somehow given America a reason to dislike the Heat even more.
Golden State Warriors' Game 1 collapse
The numbers alone are pretty bad. The Golden State Warriors were up 16 points on the San Antonio Spurs with just under four minutes to go. That's garbage time for most teams. But the really crazy thing is just how in control the Warriors had looked for the entire game.
Sure, Stephen Curry had a ridiculously hot third quarter, but that's not the only reason the Warriors were up. The Golden State defense had been solid in limiting Tony Parker and Manu Ginobili in isolation and pick-and-rolls and had been executing their offense to perfection.
They genuinely looked like the more composed team almost all game. And then out of nowhere they started taking bad jumpers, committed some stupid turnovers and let Tony Parker take over.
Boom. Suddenly a 16-point lead was whittled down to zero, and basketball fans got a taste of the Spurs shrieker as well as one of the biggest comebacks of the 2013 postseason (so far).
Boston Celtics' 20-0 run against the New York Knicks in Game 6
This very well could have been top of the list if the Boston Celtics had actually won this game.
I won't bother describing the entire run for you when it would be far easier to just watch it and experience or re-experience it for yourselves. But I will say this: If this really is it for the Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce-era Celtics, that's one hell of an exit.
Boston may not have won, but they fought tooth and nail this game against a much deeper, and heavily-favored New York Knicks team. Hopefully, Garnett is back next year, but if not...tip of the hat, KG. You played with a night-in and night-out intensity that none could match, and you defined the way this Celtics team played ever since your arrival. You were a joy to watch.
Nate Robinson's Game 4 fourth quarter
Show of hands: Who predicted that Nate Robinson would have his own commercial in this year's playoffs? Nobody? Yup, sounds about right.
Robinson's 23-point fourth quarter against the Brooklyn Nets was the stuff of NBA legend. Robinson's always been a streaky scorer with a lot of confidence in himself (often irrationally so). But give credit where credit's due. He was magnificent in Game 4. Absolutely amazing.
This entire year, the Chicago Bulls have been defined by their defense, their hustle and most importantly, their grit. The Bulls may not have an offensive superstar on the court anymore, but there's no team in the NBA with more heart. Ninety-nine percent of the time, it seems like the Bulls win because they just want it more. And in Game 4, Robinson wanted it more.
He got to the rim, hit a ridiculous number of tough jumpers (including a crazy runner in overtime) and basically willed the Bulls to victory. Chicago's no stranger to amazing playoff performances—Michael Jordan and Scottie Pippen used to deliver a lot of those. But what Robinson did is right up there with them. If that's not crazy, I don't know what is.
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